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Arbon Valley Mines

Arbon Valley Mines

While riding my dirt bike on the Onion a few years ago, I stumbled across a trail that made switch backs up the mountain, and led to quite a few old, abandoned mines. Most of them were caved in at the entrance, except for one that was still open enough to crawl down into.

Once inside, I was blown away by how big of an operation must have gone on there. There were still tracks for a cart to carry out excavated dirt, and you could still see the places where the miner had drilled holes into the walls. After going straight into the mountain for about 100 feet, the mine split into three different tunnels, one going straight, while the other two veer of to the left and right. The tunnels to the right and straight were caved in, so I went left. After walking down the mine a little longer, I found a huge rusty tank of some kind that had pipes coming out of it heading further into the mine. I could also see that behind the tank, was another dark tunnel, going back further into the mountain.

After deciding to stay on the path that I was on, I followed the pipes from the tank and the tracks to a pile of old boards, going out across a huge gaping hole. I later realized that what I was looking at was what was left of an elevator and an elevator shaft. Since I could not see the bottom from shining my light down, I decided to try to throw a rock down the hole and count the seconds until I could hear it hit the bottom. After the rock left my hand, it fell into the pitch black darkness for about 4 seconds, and then hit what I thought was the bottom. About three seconds later, I heard it hit the actual bottom of the hole.

Once back outside, I took a quick look around the area and discovered an old collapsed cabin, and the pile where the miner or miners dumped the excess dirt and rock. After being in the mine, I began to come up with some questions that I would like to know the answers to.

  • Who owned the mine, and what was being mined out of the mountain?
  • Was the mine ran by a small group of people or was it a much bigger operation?
  • How long ago were the mines in use?

These are just a few of my questions and I would like to know more about the mines. If anybody knows any more about them or knows about other interesting mines around Arbon, please comment on this article about it. I would really like to learn more about the history of the mines and Arbon Valley, so if anyone has any information about them, comment on this article or send me an email at, arbon_ite@hotmail.com .


Winter of 1948-49 Hits Hard In Arbon

Winter of 1948-49 Hits Hard In Arbon

An article that appeared in the 1999 Power County Press by Nelda Williams, added online by Hank Fitch

T

he winter of 1948-49 began early in November of ‘48 with sub zero temperatures and snow too dry to pack into any facsimile of a sled trail. Arbon ranchers all fed loose hay in those days by team and sled.

For three months, no water dripped from the eves of our little three roomed house. With no ceiling insulation you would ordinarily expect to see icicles hanging from the eves in the winter.

Sod, not long out of the service following World War II, was feeding cattle that winter for the J. N. Arbon family. Toward the last of January, Mr. Arbon had come from his winter home in Pocatello to see how we were getting along. I remember his remark that day, that hopefully the worst part of the winter was over.

Needless to say, we never saw him or anyone else from outside the valley again until Spring.

In early February it warmed up enough to begin to snow. For 17 days the storm never let up. Almost like clockwork, the wind would blow approximately 24 hours from the south, then switch to the west, which resulted in out traitorous west blizzards. Twenty-four hours later it would be back to the south again.

Finally on the 14th day, our mail was flown out from Pocatello and dropped in a field adjacent to the post office. Sod, who had accepted the appointment as rural mail carrier shortly after his discharge from the military, sorted the weeks accumulation of mail and delivered it to his patrons by horseback.

With still no signs of the storm abating, the drifts continued to bury us. Handling the loose hay made it difficult to feed. Using a hay knife, you were compelled to hand saw a small section at a time all the way to the ground. Below the snow line, the hay had to be pitched up on to the snow and then re-pitched on to the hay rack. You couldn’t open up a stack or it would cover over before the next day.

Sod made the decision to try to leave to feed every other day on a South wind. The cattle were some distance from the house and his hope was to get back before the wind shifted. Many times he faced a west blizzard to get home.

The horses constantly broke through the poorly packed sled trail. Sod had shoveled steps in the snow bank for the team to get out of the barn, but to get back in, they simply sat and slid. The double wings of the large barn had already covered over.

With no way to get the cream to town, we quit separating and fed the whole milk to the calves. We eventually had to keep the milk cows and some late fall calves we were feeding in the barn. Fortunately, we did have access to water inside.

Tired of shoveling into the out buildings each day, Sod finally began tunneling into them. We kept a shovel in the house by the door to dig out each morning. We had long since had to remove the storm door which opened outward. The snow finally came up over the roof on the west side of the house.

No way to get provisions, we made due with what we had. We had our milk and eggs and a winter supply of potatoes, flour, and canned goods. We supplemented our fair with an occasional snow shoe rabbit. I did look forward to a fresh green salad, come spring.

It was during the severe cold spell in January, just before the terrible storm period hit, that Sod took off on horseback one morning. He headed South to the food of Bull Canyon to deliver an accumulation of mail for Walt Frederick, who lived on up the canyon. Walt provided a large wooden structure for his mail on the main road as he only cam out of the canyon periodically to pick it up.

The road South into Oneida County was not winter-maintained so an arrangement had had been made through the postal department for periodic delivery to Walt by horseback. Sod left that morning around 10 a.m., leading a pack horse, figuring to spell the horses off in breaking trail. I was not to see him again for over 12 hours.

By dark I was becoming very concerned. No phone, no way to get word out for help, I decided I may as well start the chores while waiting out his return. The temperature was well below zero by 7 p.m. I bundled up our then five-year-old son, Barry, and headed for the barn.

As time wore on, the fear that some accident had befallen my husband continually gnawed at me. It was nearly 10 p.m. before I got around to packing water to the calves. When I turned the self-draining hydrant in the barn on, I watched in horror as water splashed onto my clothes and instantly froze. I knew that a man would never survive the night if he was laying out there somewhere injured and alone.

It wasn’t until that moment that I broke down and cried. Our little son for the first time sensed my fear and concern that something had happened to his dad. He attempted to console me with, “My dad won’t get bucked off Mom, my dad won’t get bucked off!”

Some time later, I was to hear the familiar crunch of horses’ hooves in the frozen snow. I rushed to the barn door in time to meet the pack mare as she shoved her head over the top of the Dutch door. It was an alarming sight, this black mare snow white with frost, her whiskers coated like a flocked Christmas tree.

I opened the door to let her in expecting to see something of Sod, but nothing. For the better part of an hour, I continued to wait. I was by now convinced that something terrible had indeed happened. The other horse perhaps down with a broken leg or worse, and heavens only knew what had become of my husband.

When he did finally appear, he was hazing a work team along ahead of him that belonged to Vadal Swenson. Vadal farmed in the South end of the valley and had moved to Malad for the winter. He had left the team to winter on dumped straw piles which generally serviced, but the horses had been having trouble pawing into the piles. They were hanging to a small area theat they had kept trampled down. They would never have survived the storms that hit later in February. It was their refusal to leave the area and head North away from their home grounds that had cost Sod so much precious time.

From the day after Christmas in 1948 to March 22, 1949, we were snowed in at the Arbon ranch. The main road was finally dozed out in mid-March. Though still a young man, the color bleached out of Sod’s eyebrows that winter.

William Hatch Sr. (Carolynn Lusk’s dad), then our star route mail carrier out of Pocatello, made his daily trip to Arbon on the day the storms hit. He never made it back to Pocatello, but was forced to abandon his jeep at Michaud Flats. When the weather finally broke, with the help of Oliver Pocatello, he began searching for his vehicle. Using a long metal rod, he began prodding in an attempt to locate it under the snow. He proceeded to punch holes in the jeep’s aluminum top before he became aware that he had already located it.

When the storms finally gave us some slack, the Pocatello area proceeded to dig out, but we had a long wait ahead of us yet. Our only winter road maintenance equipment in those days was a road grader (patrol). Most of the ranchers in the valley had a sufficient stock of feed, but hay was airlifted to some who couldn’t get to their stacks.

I’m sure that our neighbors experienced their own difficulties through all of this. We were not the only ones struggling through this historic winter of ‘48-’49.


Arbon Valley Mines

Arbon Valley Mines

W

hile riding my dirt bike on the Onion a few years ago, I stumbled across a trail that made switch backs up the mountain, and led to quite a few old, abandoned mines. Most of them were caved in at the entrance, except for one that was still open enough to crawl down into.

Once inside, I was blown away by how big of an operation must have gone on there. There were still tracks for a cart to carry out excavated dirt, and you could still see the places where the miner had drilled holes into the walls. After going straight into the mountain for about 100 feet, the mine split into three different tunnels, one going straight, while the other two veer of to the left and right. The tunnels to the right and straight were caved in, so I went left. After walking down the mine a little longer, I found a huge rusty tank of some kind that had pipes coming out of it heading further into the mine. I could also see that behind the tank, was another dark tunnel, going back further into the mountain.

After deciding to stay on the path that I was on, I followed the pipes from the tank and the tracks to a pile of old boards, going out across a huge gaping hole. I later realized that what I was looking at was what was left of an elevator and an elevator shaft. Since I could not see the bottom from shining my light down, I decided to try to throw a rock down the hole and count the seconds until I could hear it hit the bottom. After the rock left my hand, it fell into the pitch black darkness for about 4 seconds, and then hit what I thought was the bottom. About three seconds later, I heard it hit the actual bottom of the hole.

Once back outside, I took a quick look around the area and discovered an old collapsed cabin, and the pile where the miner or miners dumped the excess dirt and rock. After being in the mine, I began to come up with some questions that I would like to know the answers to.

  • Who owned the mine, and what was being mined out of the mountain?
  • Was the mine ran by a small group of people or was it a much bigger operation?
  • How long ago were the mines in use?

These are just a few of my questions and I would like to know more about the mines. I would really like to learn more about the history of the mines and Arbon Valley, so if anyone has any information about them, submit a news story to our editor or send me an email at, arbon_ite@hotmail.com .


Monte and Cheri Evans Head Church Mission to Africa

Monte and Cheri Evans Head Church Mission to Africa

M

onte and Cheri Evans are heading on a two-week Church Mission to Jinja, Africa, and other small villages in the surrounding areas. There are two teams going, each with it’s own assignments, taking on the mission. Each team has three categories of personnel, doctors, teachers, and laborers. The first team, with 12 members, left on the 28th of April. The second team, with eleven members in which Monte and Cheri are a part, is leaving on Friday, June 4th.

Once in Africa, Monte and Cheri will be helping with a small school of about 100 children. Education in Africa is not free, and many children cannot afford to get any education at all. Some students have managed to be sponsored by a US family, but many are not so lucky. It is a huge sacrifice for the parents to pay for the education of their children. When it first started, the school had only one student, yet this year it is hoping to have over 100. Education in Africa is growing, but it still needs some time to get on its feet, and a few selfless people that are willing to sacrifice of themselves for their fellow man.

Monte and Cheri EvansThere are doctors going in Cheri and Monte’s group which will be giving free physicals to the children. The teachers will be helping in the school, sharing their knowledge with the students. As laborers, Cheri and Monte are not entirely sure exactly what they will be doing yet. There is a chicken farmer, Abdu, that Monte will mostly likely be helping. There is also a group home for teenage boys, a village of mostly prostitute mothers who are desperately trying to raise their families without the helping hand of a husband and father, and there is also a bakery that they could possibly be working in.

They are both excited about their mission, and are prayerfully seeking the help of the Lord in their endeavors. They pray for the guidance of the Savior and that their hearts will be softened to His will. They desire to be instruments in the hands of Jesus and to share His love with the people of Africa.

The hearts and prayers of the people in Arbon, as well as those elsewhere, will definitely go with the Evans’ as they embark on their journey. It is my prayer that they will be successful in their mission and will bring to pass much righteousness, good, and the love of Christ to all those who seek it. Monte and Cheri will be great missionaries. They will be returning home on the 19th of June.


For those who wish to follow this story more closely, one of the members of the teams will be posting a blog of the mission while they are there. http://uganda2010-karla.blogspot.com


Upcoming Elections Interview With Kenny Estep

Upcoming Local Officer Election

By Hank Fitch

Over the past weeks I’m sure you’ve noticed the election signs and posters all over Arbon, as well as the rest of Power County. These are to promote the few candidates who are trying to get elected or re-elected into the office of their choosing. After seeing these around American Falls, and also along the long, lonely road back home, I started thinking to myself about the issues that could be presented to the candidates in the upcoming election. After weighing some thoughts around in my head, I began to wonder, “What are things that effect us as a community here in Arbon?” “How could I find out more about the people running for office and what their opinions are about these issues?” Over the next few days, and after some conversations about Arbon-related issues with Jacob Andersen, we decided that it would be a good idea for me to interview Kenny Estep, and find out more about his views on things that effect the Valley, not only for our knowledge and benefit, but for the benefit of all of the residents of Arbon.

On the night of Friday the 21st, I went to Kenny’s to interview him, and find out more about his views. I came up with three questions that I felt were in the best interest of Arbon. They are as follows:

Kenny, what is your opinion on the proposal of a new set of power lines coming through the Valley?

Kenny’s answer went as follows:

The power lines coming through, are necessary and will happen eventually. He said that he will do everything in his power to work out a way to bring them through the valley so that the least amount of people are effected, or the least amount of landowners have to have these power lines come through their land. It is necessary though, for them to come through because of the growing need for power all over Idaho. He said he will do everything that he can to make sure that the people that are effected, or the people on whose land the power lines are put, get a fair compensation for their land used.

My next question for him was this: “Where do you stand on the CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation) laws?”

His answer went as follows:

CAFO’s or Confined Animal Feeding Operations, are mainly laws that deal with managing Feedlots. (Unlike what I originally thought, these new ordinances wouldn’t have a lot to do with our ranches out here in Arbon…) He said that he will do what he can to make ordinances that adequately protect the owners of the CAFO’s and home owners. The real debate about these issues comes from ordinary people who don’t like living next to feedlots of dealing with the smell and other things that comes with being next to them. Kenny assured me that both parties can be happy and that he will work to make sure that they both get what they want and the new ordinances bring positive results to both parties.

My final question for him was thus: “In what ways do you feel you will best represent the interests of your Arbon Valley constituents?”

Kenny’s last response was this:

He said that he will continue to keep the services we have in Arbon and Power County as a whole, and do his best to see to upgrades to those services, where possible. He will also push for realistic growth so that we can remain a community. He said he will do everything he can to represent us as best as he possibly can.

I would like to quickly thank Kenny Estep for taking the time out of his personal life to answer my questions. Best of luck Kenny!